You cannot turn anywhere without hearing about COVID-19. And yes, the early data shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

So, what can you do if you have an older loved one that you are concerned about? You’ll want to check in more regularly than usual to monitor the situation in your loved ones’ homes and communities. Here are a few tips to ensure you are prepared, and if you live a distance from an elderly loved one, know you can count on Theia to be available to help:

  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can ensure there are extra on hand.
  • Know who all the doctors are and their contact information on a family member’s care team so you can reach out in need.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your loved ones’ home to minimize trips to stores.
  • Plan for more help in the home. Whether you count on an outside family member or a paid care provider to support an older adult, be prepared if these individuals end up getting sick themselves. Make several “Plan B” and even “Plan C” scenarios in the event you need back up support or respite plans.
  • If you are using an agency to provide in home care, ask for the agency’s established protocol related to COVID-19. Understand how they will communicate with you regarding infected staff, agency closure, back up coverage, etc.
  • If private health aides or a family member are part of your care team, be sure to keep them informed and set up protocols for how you want them to manage in the event of symptoms or a community outbreak.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
  • Create a transportation plan in the event your loved one must leave their home or care facility.
  • Reinforce good handwashing techniques and have hand sanitizer gel available.
  • Discourage participation in large scale, public social events such as concerts, fundraisers, and theatre.

For more information on COVID-19, CDC Guidelines and Medicare coverage, visit Medicare’s website on the topic, and be sure to monitor the CDC website for additional information and timely updates.